September 2: Tara Ison


Tonight, Wednesday, September 2 at 8 PM PST, my guest is Tara Ison.  She is an acclaimed fiction and nonfiction writer, a screenwriter too, whose memoir of being a movie watcher is also perhaps yours, except that Tara Ison, author of the novels The List, A Child out of Alcatraz and Rockaway has, like Pauline Kael who famously “lost it” at the movies, has also found it, and herself, and examines – perhaps obsesses, if beautifully – how cinema shaped her and you and me.  Her new book, Reeling Through Life:  How I Learned to Live, Love and Die at the Movies gives new meaning to the phrase “film review,” with her autobiographical review, as it were, of her own life by way of those films which, she argues, vicariously made her a multi-faceted person.  From electroshock therapy and mental health in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to Judaism by way of Fiddler on the Roof, well, you get the picture, pun intended. Each chapter suggests a film-watchers template for autobiography, from “How to Go Crazy” and “How to be Lolita” to “How to be a Drunk” and even “How to Die…with Style.”  This is a mock instruction manual for a life in and of the movies as well as a social, cultural take-apart of the films that make us who we are, for good and bad including even how, in my guest’s case, to be a writer.  Thanks for listening, on the radio or online live or anytime you like via the station’s audio archives.